A few months ago one of my neighbors knocked and my door and told me that they had found two very tiny kittens in our alley. My neighbors said the kittens were huddled together and they were quite weak. So I went to take a look. There they were; two very tiny kittens huddled together by another neighbor’s fence. I reached down to pick them up; they weren’t exactly thrilled about that because they hissed at me. I carried them to my house and put them in a cat carrier with a blanket.
I didn’t know how to tell their age so I borrowed an eye dropper from a friend and then I bought some kitten formula. I fed them through an eye dropper for a full day until I realized that they were actually big enough to drink and eat from a bowl. I kept the kittens in my bedroom where they had a litter box, food, water and toys. I have three other cats that were not getting along with the kittens so I had to keep them separate.
It was a challenge keeping them in my room. I didn’t sleep very many nights. They soon discovered how to climb onto my bed and were all over me during the night. I considered giving them up at that point but couldn’t do it. I was already attached. The kittens quickly adjusted to their new home and after about three to four weeks they were also getting along quite well with my other cats.
During those weeks I discovered by accident that their mama was down the alley from me just at the corner of the next block. I knew she was their mama because she looked just like one of the kittens that were discovered in the alley. I soon discovered that another kitten was with the mama cat. I immediately began to feed them as well. They were taking refuge under an old truck down my alley.
I fed and watered both of them at the same times I would feed my own cats and kittens. I fed them for several days but then became concerned about their safety and decided they needed better than what they had. I then done my best to get them to trust me but it just wasn’t working. They were both very skittish and didn’t want to be touched. That was when I called the Colville Valley Animal Sanctuary to see if I could borrow a live trap.
I put the trap out with a little cat food in the back of the trap. I had the kitten within a few minutes. I put a blanket over the trap so she would calm down and then I took her to my house. I let her out of the trap and I already had food, water, litter box and toys for her. Each day I spent an hour or so playing with her and talking to her while the whole time I kept feeding and kept trying to catch the mama cat.
The mama cat turned out to be quite a challenge. After catching the last kitten I put the trap back out in the same place with some food in the back. She wasn’t about to fall for it. She would circle the trap but would absolutely not go in. I tried canned cat food, sardines, tuna fish, and milk and none of those things appealed to her enough. She is extremely intelligent. I then decided that maybe I needed to disguise the trap. So I draped a blanket over it and again put food in the back of the trap. Nope, didn’t work. She was onto me. She wouldn’t even think about going inside that trap.
Then I decided that maybe if I worked with her enough she would start to trust me and I could pick her up and take her home. I packed up the trap and continued feeding and watering her and spending a few minutes with her at each feeding. She got so she would wait for me because she knew I would be coming with food and fresh water at the same times everyday. Then she got so she would come closer to me when I called her. However, she still wouldn’t let me touch her. I could get within two feet of her and that was all she would allow.
Occasionally she would get close enough to smell my hand but then would quickly back up. There was even a few times when she followed me home but she wouldn’t stay long. She would quickly retreat back to the security of the old truck she was staying under. I thought about her day and night. I was always thinking about ways to catch her so that I could bring her to my house. I became so concerned about her that I couldn’t concentrate on much of anything else. Then I came up with another plan.
I began to feed her in just a simple cardboard box. I turned it on its side and placed her food and water inside. I first placed the food and water just on the edge of the box. She would eat the food just fine at that location. So each day I would move the food a little farther back until I reached the back of the box and she was still eating the food. I fed her in the box for several days. After several days of feeding her in the box I took the box back to my house and proceeded to do some modifications. I cut a hole in the box just large enough for the live trap to slide through. Then I cut a piece of cardboard to cover the live trap. I returned the box and live trap to the alley only this time the two were connected. The live trap was now disguised to look like the box I had been feeding her in.
I fixed it so the trap wouldn’t close on her. I began feeding her just at the edge of the live trap and she took to that just fine. Each day I would move her food a little farther back. It took about four or five days for me to have the food clear to the back of the live trap. It was that day that I set the trap so that if she went clear back I would be able to catch her. She did. I finally caught the mama cat. After catching her in the trap I slid the trap out of the box and covered the trap with a blanket so she would calm down. I picked up the trap and put her in my truck. I went to my house and took her downstairs where I already had food, water, litter box and toys waiting for her.
I released her from the trap and of course her first instinct was to come out like a bullet and hide. And so this brings us to the present day. I have the three kittens and the mama cat now. The three kittens are fully acquainted with me now. Mama cat pokes her head out of her hiding spot to see what is going on. I have all her needs very close to her until she gets comfortable with her surroundings.
They are all sweethearts. I love all my cats like they are my children. I feel good that I helped these cats. They wouldn’t have done too well without someone to help them. I plan on getting them spayed and the one little boy cat neutered. There are a lot of animals without homes and the only way to help is to get them spayed/neutered. I feel good that I done something for this family of kitties.
Written by: Karen Hallam